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North Carolina A&T State University has announced that its Center for Electrochemical Dynamics and Reactions on Surfaces (CEDARS) has been awarded a four-year $10.35 million grant from the Department of Energy. A&T is the only historically Black college or university to receive this DOE funding.

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CEDARS is one of 43 universities and national laboratories receiving more than $400 million toward establishing and continuing Energy Frontier Research Centers. EFRCs bring together multi-disciplinary scientific teams to tackle scientific challenges preventing advances in energy technologies.

The projects are led by 28 universities, including Stanford University, Michigan State University, MIT, and Georgia Tech, as well as national laboratories with additional partner institutions.

Together, they will study everything from energy storage to quantum information science. CEDARS will focus on splitting hydrogen and oxygen from water to produce clean hydrogen for energy use.

These investments will support research that is foundational to the development of solar and nuclear energy technologies, energy storage, carbon capture, novel manufacturing processes, and the more efficient use of critical minerals in energy technologies and manufacturing.

“We are elated to lead this historic and innovative research center to move our country forward in clean energy,” said Stephanie Luster-Teasley, interim dean of the College of Engineering, in a statement. “This award, paired with the university’s $23 million clean energy workforce training award will ensure N.C. A&T’s College of Engineering’s faculty and students demonstrate leadership in contributing to creating a net-zero emissions economy and continues to promote diversity in clean energy fields.”

Dhananjay Kumar, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is the center’s principal investigator and will work with A&T researchers in computational science and engineering,  science, technology, chemistry, nanoscience, nanoengineering; and the College of Education.

According to the press release, Kumar will also lead faculty from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cornell University, Penn State, Colorado University at Boulder, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“This is a crown jewel award from DOE that has never been awarded to an HBCU until now,” Kumar said. “Not only will we be working on clean energy initiatives, but we will also be involved in enhancing diversity, inclusion, and equity by involving high school, undergraduate, and graduate students from historically underserved backgrounds in our research.”

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